The latest in the judge/religion wars

The Senate yesterday confirmed Leon Holmes as a federal district court judge in Arkansas. Here’s the report from Fox News. Holmes faced strong opposition in part because he and his wife wrote an article in 1997 for the Arkansas Catholic Review that contains this language: “the wife is to subordinate herself to the husband … the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man.” Holmes said the language was taken out of context (I haven’t seen the article), but five Republicans opposed him, including conservative Kay Bailey Hutchison. On the other hand, the two Senators from Arkansas, both Democrats, supported Holmes. One of them, Blanche Lincoln, sensibly remarked that Holmes has the right to express his religious views. The vote in the Senate was 51-46 for confirmation (Kerry and Edwards were no-shows).
Meanwhile, the fight continues over the nomination of Claude Allen to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit (Richmond). Boyden Gray, also in NRO, demonstrates how far some liberals have gone in imposing a securlarist (and anti-traditional Christian) litmus test for judicial nominees. According to Gray, Allen is opposed by key interest groups in part on the ground that he home schools his children and has supported an “abstinence-only-until-marriage agenda.” This is only the latest attempt to villify nominees for the crime of being true in their private lives to their religious and moral beliefs. Recall that the Democrats attacked William Pryor for cancelling a family trip to Disney World when he found that it coincided with gay pride day there.
Gray makes a related but different point. He notes that, having long celebrated judicial activism, liberals now oppose those whose personal values are at odds with the liberal social agenda on the grounds that such nominees will follow the liberal model of judging. They do so even in cases, such as Claude Allen’s, where there is no basis (other than projection) for believing that the nominees in question will so act. Gray therefore concludes that “the true basis for their opposition is not that [Allen] will act to implement his own agenda, but rather

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